If you love running but the idea of endless hours of repetitive tarmac seem unappealing and boring, it’s probably time to give trail running a try. By substituting the treadmill or paved roads for cross-country routes, you’ll enjoy scenes filled with greenery, wildlife, puddles and more. Each day becomes a fun event instead of the same boring scene over and over again. If you’re ready to take on trail running, keep in mind it’s definitely a task more easily accomplished with a pair of the best men’s trail running shoes on your feet.
Why Should I Buy Trail Running Shoes?
Trail shoes have been specifically designed for tackling mud-ridden or rocky trails, which means they provide extra support, more traction and generally have a more rugged appearance compared to road running shoes. Each trail run could require you to navigate mud, rocks, grass and more, so you need a pair of shoes fit for that task. Plus, trail running shoes for men are generally more versatile than road-based options, so if you feel like hitting the tarmac for a day, it’s not a problem.
When you’re looking for trail running shoes for men, you’re likely to encounter quite a few technical terms, which can sometimes cause confusion. One such term is heel drop, which refers to the difference in the distance between the heel and toe’s relationship to the ground. A higher number means a greater difference. But as our resident running enthusiast James Schiff points out, the specific number is “less the issue than actual support,” and there are studies that back up the argument that drop isn’t necessarily the most important factor. If you have a specific shoe or style you like, you should stick with what you know. But if you’re new to the world of running, you can’t forget about heel drop and instead focus on other more important details like weight, support and material.
Ultimately, technical details are important, but personal preference and comfort will be the best guide. And while we can’t quite run in your shoes, we can at least point you toward some of the best trail running shoes for men that you can buy online. These are the ones to get.
1. Salomon XA Pro 3D V8 Trail-Running Shoes – Men’s
Practically synonymous with hiking, Salamon’s shoes have an unmistakably technical look that’s surprisingly in style. The shoes have a convenient single-pull lace that makes for less time spent lacing up and more time on the trails. The shoes have a heel-to-toe drop of 11mm and are moderately cushioned for comfort. The rock plate also provides protection from rough terrain.
2. ASICS Men’s GEL Venture 6 Running Shoes
When it comes to running, there are few companies that can rival ASICS for the title of best running shoe brand. In the ASICS Gel 6, you’ll find a versatile running shoe suitable for tough trails. These shoes come in a range of color options and feature a rubber sole for durability and comfort. You’ll also find gel cushioning inside and a removable sock liner to accommodate users with medical orthotics. The outsole features a trail-specific pattern to maximize traction and ensure confidence on the go.
3. Hoka One One Speedgoat 4
BEST FOR ENDURANCE RUNS
Inspired by endurance runner Karl Meltzer (also known as Speedgoat Karl), the Hoka One One Speedgoat series was designed to take on the harsh conditions of the Speedgoat 50k race, often called the toughest trail race in the world. To do so, these shoes include a wider platform that provides a more stable base on a variety of terrains. They also have an oversized EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning and all-day comfort on long runs. Finally, the midfoot cage-like construction of these shoes acts as a seatbelt for your feet, keeping them stable and locked in throughout your time on the trail. The Speedgoat 4 has a slightly wider toebox, making it a good option for anyone with larger feet.
4. Saucony Men’s Excursion Tr11 Running Shoe
The Excursion Tr11 is a lightweight shoe with good grip for the trail. It’s available in several colors. The grippy outsoles can handle tough terrain. Some wearers find that they do run small, so take note of that.
5. New Balance Men’s Arishi V1 Trail Running Shoe
BEST FOR ROUGH TERRAIN
New Balance is famed for comfort, so it’s no surprise that the Arishi V1 shoes will keep your feet cushioned while you’re tearing up the trails. They feature an EVA foam insert that’s designed to absorb shock as you run, and the thick tread ensures you have traction on the slipperiest trails, and a reinforced toe will protect your feet.
6. Brooks Cascadia 15 Trail-Running Shoes – Men’s
One of the most legendary running brands around, Brooks also has the shoes you need for tackling tough trails. They have an 8mm drop and moderate cushioning to keep you comfortable. They’re built with tough trails in mind — the thick tread gives you traction, while the rock plate protects you from debris.
7. Nike Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX
BEST WATER RESISTANCE
Stock is fairly limited in some colors, but we had to include these impressive shoes from Nike. “Cool” and “trail running” aren’t often used together when talking about shoes, but Nike’s Pegasus Trail 2s have a street-ready aesthetic that’s more than capable of handling rough terrain. The standout detail is the use of GORE-TEX, which is the gold standard for staying dry.
8. Saucony Peregrine 10 ST Trail-Running Shoes
STABILITY AND SUPPORT
Named for the fastest animal in the world, the Saucony Peregrine is built for dedicated trail runners looking to rack up some miles. It has a water-resistant design with comfortable cushioning, and they’re built to keep you stable running up or down hills.
9. On Running Cloudventure Waterproof
BEST FOR COMPETITIONS
Although the On Running Cloudventure Waterproof trail running shoes are the most expensive option on our list, they are also the most technologically advanced. Built for protection from the elements, the shoes boast a waterproof construction and a Megagrip rubber sole with four levels of grip for traction on the trail, even if you’re running in wet conditions. Plus, these trail running shoes for men are extremely lightweight thanks to the CloudTec outsole structure, which also cushions your foot from forces from all directions. Finally, the included speed-lace system keeps the shoes in place but allows you to quickly take them off or put them on. This feature is particularly ideal for triathlons.
10. Adidas Outdoor Terrex Two Parley
A great trail running shoe, the best part about the Adidas Outdoor Terrex Two Parley is that these sneakers are made using Parley Ocean Plastic yarn, which is constructed of recycled waste collected on beaches and in coastal communities. In addition to being very eco-friendly, these shoes are lightweight and flexible to keep you comfortable and steady on trail runs. The sock-like exterior offers a snug fit and the reinforced toe bumper keeps your feet safe against rocks and other abrasive surfaces. Finally, the enhanced EVA midsole provides great shock absorption for comfort on any trail.
11. Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4 Trail Shoes
The Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes are another behemoth of the trail running world. They are constructed from impressively lightweight and durable materials. They also sport a unique Quicklace system, which makes it easy to slip the shoes on or off in seconds and keeps them secure on your feet during runs. You’ll also find that the Sensifit design helps cradle your feet for an impressively snug yet comfortable fit. Finally, the Contagrip design on the shoes’ soles provides all the traction you need, even in the toughest of conditions.